A Little Heidegger for a Lazy Sunday

Putting forth questions – questions that are not happenstance thoughts, nor are questions the common “problems” of today which “one” picks up from hearsay and book learning and decks out with a gesture of profundity. Questions grow out of a confrontation with “subject matter.” And subject matter is there only where eyes are.  (Opening to the Foreword for M. Heidegger’s Ontology-The Hermeneutics of Facticity)

This is premature (it is after all a reflection on the foreword) but even this first paragraph of this foreword (which follows a sort of Introduction to his Summer lectures of 1923) brings to mind some thoughts I see as important.  First, I am struck by the fragmentary nature of this opening; in fact I like it – I’ve been a fan of gerunds of late (‘-ing’s) as they emphasize continual natures of actions (e.g. ‘discipling’ versus ‘discipled’) – and what’s more it strikes the right note for what I believe Heidegger will mean by questions.

Since the middle of undergraduate studies questions have been fascinating – in fact questions have in large part become the objects of pursuit (i.e. I would consider it a great accomplishment even to at last find which questions are truly worthy of pursuit for the pursuit of good questions is a worthy aim): I have desired to learn which ‘problems’ haunted great minds so that their answers are not merely “subject matter” but rather are part of the struggles of history.  For a question to be worthy it must grow out of not the bare text – just as a class should not be merely filling the requirements of the syllabus but rather fully engaging with the questions which are inherent to the subject matter.  This is that second item which strikes soundly: do we know what it means to have eyes?  I turn this quest-ion to you.


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